Adolescents have the poorest blood sugar control compared to other age groups (Foster et al., 2019). Adolescence is also a period of developing self-regulation (SR) abilities, defined as the ability to manage thoughts, emotions, and actions to achieve a desired outcome (Eisenberg, 2019). The attention, planning, and decision making required for optimal T1D management is both cognitively and emotionally draining on the developing system of adolescents, which may be contributing to difficultly with diabetes management and glycemic control (Duke & Harris, 2014). This project examines the relationship between specific aspects of SR, including executive functions and affect; and T1D outcomes, including diabetes management behaviors and HbA1c. As part of an ongoing clinical trial (NCT03688919), adolescents (13-17 yo) diagnosed with T1D for ≥ 6 months with HbA1c ≥ 7.0 were recruited from diabetes clinics (n = 56). They completed baselines measures of self-regulation including the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for Children, and self-reported diabetes management behaviors. HbA1c was also collected.
Parent reported cognitive aspects of SR were negatively related to number of insulin boluses per day, specifically attentional shift, task completion and planning, (r(47)= -.36, -.31, -.33 respectively, all p < .05); however, no association was found between inhibition, self-monitoring, and working memory and diabetes outcomes (p >.05). With regard to emotional aspects of SR, positive affect, including excitement, enthusiasm, pride, determination, and activation (r(47)= .34, .33, .36, .31, .29 respectively, all p < .05) were positively related to number of insulin boluses per day. No aspects of SR were related to blood glucose testing behaviors or HbA1c. SR in adolescents may be an important factor in successful T1D management. With evidence-based approaches, SR may be an optimal target for intervention.
D. Albright: None. H.O. Riley: None. E. Fredericks: None. J. Sturza: None. S. Lo: None. K.M. Clark: None. J.M. Lee: Advisory Panel; Self; Goodrx. Consultant; Self; T1D Exchange. Research Support; Self; Lenovo. A.L. Miller: None.
National Institutes of Health (NCT03688919)